Feb 17

The Chromebook Experiment

A few weeks ago I picked up a Toshiba Chromebook. Not really sure why, was kind of a impulse buy I guess. I decided to put it to use. The Chromebook I picked up is the Toshiba CB35-B3340 13.3-Inch Chromebook 2 (Full-HD Screen) which is configured with 4 GB of Memory and a 16 GB SSD. The Chromebook also has a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, a HDMI port, a microphone/headphone jack, and a SD Card slot. I paid just under $300 for it after redeeming a couple BestBuy Reward Certificates.

As an experiment I decided to leave my laptop at home for VMWare PEX and only carry the Chromebook. I was surprised as I was able to do just about everything I needed to do. If I couldn’t do on the Chromebook I could either do it in the chrooted Linux environment (Crouton) or through RDP or VMWare View or Citrix Receiver to my home desktop/lab.

Now I use it all the time now, especially for basic things like email, social media (Twitter and Facebbok), and writing blog post (this post was written on it). Very quick to start-up and easy to use just about anywhere.
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Feb 12

PEX Session Notes: SRM & Business Continuity Overview

Another really informative VMware PEX 2015 Session covering SRM 5.8 and the soon to be released SRM 6. Also some what’s new with vCloud Air DR, VMware Data Protection (VDP), and vSphere Replication.

If you have not heard there is no longer two editions of VDP. Basically now VDP Advanced (VDPA) becomes VDP. All of the features of VDPA will be available for no extra licensing cost.

The notes are as I took them in the session.

STO4295 – SRM & Business Continuity Overview
Mauricio Barra – VMware
Pooja Virkud – VMware

Types of Disasters:
– Power Outage
– Human Error
– Hardware Failures
– Natural Disaster

Have a valid plan of action!
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Feb 10

PEX Session Notes: VVOLs Technical Overview

This was a great session with a ton of useful technical information about the upcoming vSphere 6 release and the support of VVOLs. The notes are as I took them in the session. If I have time I may go through and expand on them.

STO4278: vSphere Virtual Volumes Technical Overview Session VMware PEX 2015
Rawlinson Rivera – VMware
Follow him: @PunchingClouds

vSphere 6.0 – Separating Control Plane from Data Plane
Hypervisor knows the needs of your apps – in real time – all IO passes through the hypervisor.

App-centric automation
– Dynamic delviery of service levels
– Fine control of data services at VM level
– Common management across hetergeneous environment

Control, consume, manage based on policies.
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Feb 06

The NEW Official VCDX Directory

The Official VCDX directory is the authoritative directory of individuals who have obtained the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certification. This past week the Official VCDX Directory was moved to http://vcdx.vmware.com/ which is hosted on vCloud Air. Not only was the directory relocated but it was also given an awesome new look and some great new features.

It is now very easy to search for a VCDX by name or number. You can filter your search results even further by VCDX type, country, region, and language. Another new feature is the addition of the “Mentor” flag. If you are working towards your VCDX and looking for a mentor for guidance, help with mocks, or a design review you can easily locate those of us who are available to help.

vcdx-mentor

The VCDX’s profile details provides contact and other information.

vcdx-details

Current VCDX holders can update their VCDX Directory profile using the self-service portal. Just sign in to change your bio, update your company, add your twitter handle, upload your directory picture, etc… If you are currently a VCDX and have not activated your account – get over to the directory and do it now. You will not appear in the directory until you activate your account.

Nice work @ccolotti and team. Looks fantastic!

Feb 06

ESXi Host 3 NIC Connectivity Design

This post was inspired by a conversation with @Emad_Younis (If you are not following him, you should be) at VMware PEX about ESXi network design using a limited number of NICs. Emad is working towards his VCDX so as part of the discussion we worked through the solution design applying the same design methodology used when creating a VCDX design.

Here is the information we had available:

Customer has a HP server with three physical NICs, 1 on-board and 2 on a dual port card, to use as an ESXi host. Customer did not have budget/time/whatever to purchase another dual port NIC and wanted to get the host in production as soon as possible. So only three NICs were available. The customer wants the configuration to support the connectivity necessary (Mgmt, vMotion, iSCSI, and VM Network) and be highly available.

Not much there but we are able to reach a solution using the conceptual, logical, physical design process.
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Jan 27

VMware PEX 2015 – Sessions and Social

VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2015 in San Francisco is happening in less than a week. Pre-Conference Boot Camps from January 31 to February 2, and the conference itself February 3-5. I will be flying into SFO mid-day on Saturday, suppose to land around 12:40 PM.

pex2015

Looking forward to stopping in to the VCDX boot camp on Sunday morning. Then on Monday workshops on VSAN in the morning and NSX in the afternoon. My PEX session schedule is focused on VSAN and NSX:

NET4288 – Operational Best Practices for VMware NSX
NET4253 – The Practical Path to NSX and Network Virtualization
STO4465 – Performance and Best Practices for Business Critical Applications Leveraging Virtual SAN

With a little EUC thrown in for good measure:

EUC4322 – High Performance Desktops with 3D

There are also a few social events I am looking forward to.

First vBacon, I missed this one at VMworld and from what I hear it was a really good time. The vBacon festivities are happening Tuesday, February 3 from 10 PM to 12 AM at the Cable Car City Pub. RSVP here: http://tweetvite.com/event/vBaconPEX2015

Then the vExpert/VCDX Tweetup. Always great to meet up with fellow vExperts and VCDXs. The
vExpert Tweetup Tuesday February 3, 7 PM at the Chieftain. RSVP here: http://vite.io/VMwareTweetups

The PernixData Pex Party is also February 3 from 7 to 10 PM at the Hawthorne Lounge and I plan to stop in there for a bit.

And then there is PEXunderground from @vmunderground… Like where they are going with this…

pexunderground

If you are going to be at PEX 2015 and would like to meet up hit me up @herseyc. Maybe breakfast at Mel’s Drive-In, a cup of coffee at Blue Bottle, or a cigar at the Cigar Bar and Grill.

Looking forward to a week of learning and catching up. Hope to see you there.

Jan 20

vCoffee Links #12 – PEX, PowerCLI, EVALExperience, and more…

VMware PEX 2015 is just around the corner (less than 2 weeks away). Looks like it is going to be a great show. Travel reservations are all made and my schedule is pretty much full. Looking forward to some VMware NSX and VMware Horizon goodness.

I am flying into SFO midday on Saturday, January 31. If you are going to be at PEX 2015 and would like to meet up for real life coffee hit me up @herseyc.

Still hoping to sit the VCP-DT exam at PEX but I have not had really had the time to do much studying. Have a View environment set up in the lab and I hope I can work in some serious study time between now and then.

A quick shout out to the folks preparing to defend for VCDX at PEX – Good Luck! Couple of quick tips… Know your design, have confidence in your design decisions, relax, and have fun!

Now on to the links…

vCoffee Links is a regular feature on vHersey.com. vCoffee Links features news and links of interest from the past week or so. If you have something interesting to add please submit it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @herseyc.
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Jan 13

EMC VSI 6.4 Web Client Plugin and the VNXe3200

EMC has released version 6.4 of the Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) plugin for the vSphere Web Client. This release fixed an issue with registering a VNXe3200 as a storage system.

What is the VSI? Here is the description from the EMC download site: Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) 6.4 is an EMC plug-in for the vSphere Web Client. VSI 6.4 allows the VMware administrator to provision, monitor, manage, and protect datastores on EMC storage directly from vCenter, simplifying management of the virtualized environment. VSI 6.4 supports AppSync, ViPR, VMAX, VNX, VNXe3200, and XtremIO.

The VSI is a packaged in a virtual appliance and the OVA can be downloaded from here: https://support.emc.com/products/34010_VSI-for-VMware-vSphere-Web-Client (VSI is free but an EMC account is required to download).

This post provides an overview of deploying and configuring the VSI appliance and provisioning a VMFS datastore using the plugin.
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Jan 10

vSphere Software iSCSI Basics

Shared storage provides the foundation of a vSphere deployment and is required when leveraging many of the advanced features available in vSphere including vSphere High Availability (HA) and the vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). Using the software iSCSI initiator in ESXi is one of the supported options available to provide shared storage connectivity to a vSphere environment. If iSCSI connectivity is not configured correctly there can be a significant impact on both performance and availability.

When doing discovery and assessments on customer environments I frequently run across issues with the configuration of the iSCSI connectivity to ESXi hosts. Common iSCSI configuration issues I encounter are:

  • Improper configuration of the VMkernel interfaces used for iSCSI traffic, such as, using multiple active vmnics or having standby vmnics configured for the VMkernel.
  • VMkernel interfaces are not bound to the Software iSCSI adapter. This is either due to the interface not being in compliance due to the issue above or the fact this part of the configurations was never completed.
  • Single points of failure in the iSCSI network with the most common single point of failure being storage paths are not separated across physical switches.

In this post I am going to take a look at two common network configurations used when deploying iSCSI connectivity in a vSphere environment along with how to correctly configure vSphere networking and the software iSCSI adapter when using iSCSI storage.
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Jan 04

eBooks Just $5 at PacktPub

Packt Publishing has been running a sale on all their eBooks for just $5! The sale ends on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 which means there is still plenty of time to take advantage of this great deal. You see sales like this from time to time but most of the time the sale only applies to earlier editions or to books which are slightly outdated. Not so with this sale – EVERY eBOOK published by PackT is available for just $5.

I just picked up a handful of eBooks myself:

The book I published with PackT in 2014, VMware vSphere 5.x Datacenter Design Cookbook, is also available for just $5! Thanks to @VirtuallyMikeB for his awesome review of my book which you can find here ( which my wife had printed out and framed :) ).

Great deal on some awesome tech books, don’t miss out.

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